ST. LOUIS – St. Louis City officials submitted an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requesting more than $1 million to potentially buyout dozens of homes damaged by floods in the Ellendale neighborhood.
The historic flood in July caused damage to many homes in the St. Louis region. Homeowners that were displaced will discuss a potential buyout with city officials.
Many residential properties were condemned by the city.
Top story: Man behind radioactive school report motivated by St. Louis flooding
“Our basement was completely floor to ceiling submerged, no time to get anything out,” said Jeffrey Boschans, an Ellendale homeowner.
The Boschans have lived in the neighborhood for 30 years. Now, they are displaced and have to live at a friend’s home.
“Continuing to pay a mortgage and insurance and taxes on a place that you can’t even live, that’s very discouraging,” said Debbie, Jeffrey’s wife.
After years of potential buyouts, city officials are officially trying to get homeowners in the most high-risk part of Ellendale out of harm’s way with help from FEMA.
City officials submitted a request to FEMA for $1.7 million to buy at least 20 homes in the floodplain.
“They may not wish to experience flooding again, some people like where they live. It’s a big process for somebody to consider to move, so that’s why we’re trying to give the homeowners as much information as possible to make that decision,” said Sarah Russell, City of St. Louis Commissioner of Emergency Management.
The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) is looking to buy roughly four homes with its own funding. The plan is to turn the lots into a stationing space for sewage projects in the area.
“Mother nature is kind of telling us that some of these homes shouldn’t be there, and so there’s no way to engineer our way out of this,” said Sean Hadley, a spokesperson for MSD.
“The buyout is a ray of hope, a ray of light,” said Boschans.
The city is awaiting approval from FEMA. Then they will continue the discussion with homeowners to decide whether they would like to buyout.